Gerard Butler could face a ban from racing after admitting using steroids
Last Updated: 29/04/13 4:20pm
Gerard Butler: Administered steroids on veterinary advice
Newmarket handler Gerard Butler faces a British Horseracing Authority enquiry after a number of samples taken from his yard earlier this year tested positive.
Butler had told the Independent he had made an "unpardonable misjudgement", with the news breaking just days after fellow Newmarket handler Mahmood Al Zarooni was banned for eight years after he admitted to administering anabolic steroids to 15 horses in his care.
Butler could also face a ban from racing after admitting to injecting horses with anabolic steroids but believes that more than 100 horses across Newmarket's stables have received steroids on veterinary advice.
In response to Butler's admission, the BHA released a statement saying: "It is the general policy of the BHA not to comment publicly regarding ongoing investigations or speculation surrounding potential investigations.
"However, in light of reports and speculation today, and because of recent events regarding horses formerly trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni, it is felt necessary to confirm that a separate investigation is being held into a number of positive samples obtained from horses at Gerard Butler's yard, following a testing in training visit on February 20.
"While conscious of the need not to prejudice the outcome of the current enquiry, the investigation has established that the source of the positive samples was a veterinary product, licensed in the EU and legally imported for use by a veterinary practice, the initial administration of which was recommended by a vet.
"This investigation remains ongoing and a number other parties have been and will be interviewed, including representatives of the veterinary practice in question. One of the objectives of this investigation is to clarify the extent to which this product has been distributed and administered to horses in training.
"Immediately following the results of the testing in training, the BHA, in conjunction with the National Trainers Federation, notified trainers that the product in question contains an anabolic steroid and should not be used on any horse in training."
Butler told the Independent: "I have been totally candid throughout, and it was I who told the BHA that I had treated four colts in December and January.
"I'm not trying to defend myself, just to explain what happened. And I must emphasise I was advised in good faith by my vets. It was an unpardonable misjudgement, purely to cut corners in what is a very expensive treatment.
"I have been very uncomfortable over the past few days, hearing and reading about the Al Zarooni case. I feel people need to know about what has happened in my yard."
Butler believes 'Sungate', the medication in question he used on veterinary advice to treat horses' joints, has been "misunderstood by many others". He added that believes that more than 100 horses across the headquarters of British Flat racing have been given the same drug.
He said: "I know I'm obliged to satisfy myself that each and every treatment is within the rules, and I failed to do so in this case.
"But I am certain that this medication has been misunderstood by many others. And I just hope that the BHA is being suitably rigorous in establishing whether that is indeed the case.
"It did not cross my mind that there could be any problem with this medication. And, judging from the fact that the BHA said nothing about it when they saw my medical book, it does not seem to have crossed their minds, either.
"Little Black Book ran on August 4, and won a couple of weeks later, so they would have known he was clearly in training at the time. In the medical book, I signed that I had authorised use of the drug, and my vet had countersigned for its administration.
"Sungate had for some time been widely used in their practice, with very beneficial results for joint injuries."